I took advantage of run and just under freezing temperatures (29 F at the start; 32 F at the finish (-2 C to 0 C)) to get in 10 miles (10.36 actually) before today’s game, which I am subjecting my daughter to.
Total time: 1:55:23 (11:08 mpm) for 10.36. 22:06 to the Cemetery, 15:30 in the Cemetery, 20:56 to the end of Heading (58:32, or 43:02 for the 4), 1:21, 44:40 (!) for the “in the park” part, 10:48 for the final 1.03.
Not so long ago, I counted 10 minutes per mile as my “easy” pace; not it is 11:15 mpm, at least for this distance.
While I was out there, I saw Larry McMasters walking with his walker; he is a tough 70 year old who could run 45 minutes for 10K (last November) but was hit by a car earlier this year while running. He is now out and about again; he is one of the toughest people I know.
Now off to the game….or to get ready at least.
There has been an exciting new biological discovery inside the tomb of the Chernobyl reactor. Like out of some B-grade sci fi movie, a robot sent into the reactor discovered a thick coat of black slime growing on the walls. Since it is highly radioactive in there, scientists didn’t expect to find anything living, let alone thriving. The robot was instructed to obtain samples of the slime, which it did, and upon examination…the slime was even more amazing than was thought at first glance.
This slime, a collection of several fungi actually, was more than just surviving in a radioactive environment, it was actually using gamma radiation as a food source. Samples of these fungi grew significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the normal background radiation level. The fungi appear to use melanin, a chemical found in human skin as well, in the same fashion as plants use chlorophyll. That is to say, the melanin molecule gets struck by a gamma ray and its chemistry is altered. This is an amazing discovery, no one had even suspected that something like this was possible.
Surf to Doug’s Darkworld to read more.
Consider some issues of the day: what is the proper balance of power and diplomacy in foreign affairs?
Love President Obama, hate him….you should realize that properly analyzing issues such as these requires education and knowledge.
Williamson has a lot of equations running around — fearful plumbing, as Rudi Dornbusch would have put it — but the essence of this story, whether he realizes it or not, involves movements in the Wicksellian natural rate of interest — the real interest rate that would match savings and investment at full employment.
Now, one way to think about how that natural rate interacts with monetary policy to determine the rate of inflation would be a figure like this:
Here WNR is a 45-degree line representing all the combinations of inflation and the interest rate at which the real rate equals the Wicksellian natural rate, while MP is a monetary policy reaction function — basically a Taylor rule in which interest rates rise more than one-for-one with inflation, but with the downside constrained by the zero lower bound.
As you can see, I’ve drawn this so that there are two equilibria: one with a relatively high inflation rate and a positive nominal interest rate, the other with low inflation and a zero rate.
What Williamson does is observe that we’re at the zero lower bound, so he concludes that we’re at an equilibrium like B.
He then asks what happens if the liquidity premium on government debt rises — which in this setting amounts to asking what happens if the real natural rate of interest falls. And he gets a result like this:
Surf to Professor Krugman’s site to read the analysis; let’s say that one has to be comfortable with graphs and their meaning to follow the argument (mathematically speaking: it has to do with how the “slanted” curve moves with the economic conditions, and if we stay at one of the equilibria, and how stable (attracting or repelling equilibria).
So, one needs some level of education to follow this.
So what are some colleges doing?
This isn’t a joke: The University of District of Columbia, which was desperate to cut costs, is eliminating 17 low-enrolled academic programs — including physics, history and economics — but is keeping for now an NCAA Division II athletics program that cost $3 million more last year than it generated in revenue.
That was the decision of the Board of Trustees, according to this report by my colleague Nick Anderson. The board took up a proposal to save money offered by UDC’s interim president, James E. Lyons Sr., as he tries to take the long-strugling school on a different path.
If you’re planning to attend either Minnesota State University Moorhead or the University of the District of Columbia, best get in your Romeo and Juliet now—and while you’re at it, you should probably learn the formulas for velocity and momentum, and study up on the Spanish-American War. Because soon, these regional public universities may have no departments of English, physics, or history—nor a host of other programs often associated with “college,” including political science (MSUM), philosophy (MSUM), computer science (MSUM), and even economics (UDC).
What is confounding about these universities’ plans to possibly obliterate nearly half of their departments is why both institutions, faced with budget crises, went straight for the academic jugular. And not just by cutting highfalutin artsy disciplines, but with an eye toward fields of study that are actually valued in today’s cruel and fickle market. Nobody seems to notice that the structure of today’s higher-ed “business” model is backwards: It’s far easier to cut academics than it is to cut anything else, so that’s what universities are doing. The irony that the very raison d’être of a university—education!—is also its most disposable aspect seems lost on everyone (perhaps because nobody studies English, philosophy, or French anymore, so nobody recognizes irony or knows what a raison d’être is).
UDC’s case is especially infuriating, given the trustees’ decision to gut departments in favor of a decidedly lackluster athletics program. However, MSUM’s situation is actually far more likely to be replicated around the country, and thus deserving of greater scrutiny. If MSUM could have made up the $5 million chasm in its budget by cutting its modest sports, it might well have gone the way of Texas’s Paul Quinn College, which turned its football field into an organic farm and now seems pretty pleased with the decision. But at MSUM, head coaches are paid about $70,000 a year and have teaching responsibilities; cutting athletics wouldn’t have come close to stanching MSUM’s gaping cash hole.
So that’s it: a strip mall with a gym. Hmmmm….
And they are also not going to reduce offices and amenities that boost enrollment. These days, no self-respecting undergraduate would think of matriculating somewhere without an indoor rock climbing wall, so MSUM has to have one of those. And without perky recruiters and extensive alumni outreach, matriculation and endowment will both crater even worse than they already have (declining enrollment is the source of the entire budget fracas in the first place). So, again, this would seem to reveal that amenities and administrators are indispensible, and thus the entire burden of the budget cuts rests squarely on the slouching, poorly clothed shoulders of the faculty, who are now to be foisted upon that dreaded “real world” they seem to hate so much.
And therein lies the rub. What is a university without departments? The MSUM and UDC decisions demonstrate something crucially important and monumentally depressing about the state of the American public university: It is an immaculately landscaped corporate park with its own apparel store, full of the sound of tuition money disappearing and the fury of a thousand feet on a rock wall, but signifying nothing.
So what is the purpose of a university?
The good news: I had no problems with pull ups today; that is a sure sign that I didn’t overeat yesterday.
Planks (90 second forward, 30 seconds each side)
Abs: 3 sets of 10 each: crunch, twist, sit back, vertical crunch.
pull ups: 2 sets of 15, 2 sets of 10 (got over that bar!)
bench: 10 x 135, 9 x 170
incline: 2 sets of 10 x 140
dumbbell military: 3 sets of 12 x 50
dumbbell row: 3 sets of 10 x 65, each arm
curl (EZ bar): 3 sets of 10 x 65
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 160
The bad news: these ladies weren’t in the gym today; in fact, it was only a handful of stinky guys. 😦
(hat tip: Lee)
Note: Green Bay has bigger problems than their missing their starting quarterback, and so far, the Raiders are vastly outplaying the Cowboys. It is only the first half though.
I am old enough to remember when the Cowboys and Raiders were both relevant…during the SAME SEASON! They used to both be perennial powers in the NFL; always a threat to win the Super Bowl or at least go deep in the play-offs.
I’ve gone away from walking mostly due to piriformis pain; however the episode with my back suggests that my “not having enough curvature to my spine” was to blame.
So, I need to add walking, especially since that is the best way for me to finish a marathon (or longer) race.
And I had a dream last night: I was walking a marathon and a race walking judge went up to me and threatened to pull me out of the race. I protested: “but judge, this race doesn’t have a race walking division; it doesn’t even have a walking division! It doesn’t matter if I am legal or not!” The judge said that my form was so bad, it didn’t matter that there was no walking division; my form was disgracing the sport of walking!
Seriously; that was what I dreamed.
Splits: 8:19, 8:18, 8:23 = 24:56. This grades to about a 25:53 5K.
My race: I jogged the 2.2 miles from my house to the racecourse, (got there with 10 minutes to the start of the race), ran the race (if you call 8:19 mpm running) and then power-walked a cool-down home (another 2 miles, this time uphill). I had overdressed slightly and so was a bit too sweaty.
There were 187 people who showed up on a 22 F (-6 C), 10 mph (16 km/hr) wind and sunny day. Hopefully, this race will grow as it was a well managed event.
My race: well, I knew that I hadn’t done many “faster” workouts over the past month aside from a quicker treadmill mile here and there; my last hard run was a 33:07 4 miler back on November 3, and that was done if 40 F conditions. It was almost 20 F colder today, and that does slow me down just a little (nothing like the heat does though).
I lined up midpack and went out; this course starts with a mild upgrade for the first mile (8:19); I was trying to keep the effort under control and started to pass people 6-7 minutes into it.
I saw Lupe pass me (he starts slow and usually runs 7:4x-7:5x) and it was useless to try to stay with him.
But I told myself “stay steady” and more or less held position; it was just a tiny bit harder than “tempo effort”. The side turn put us with a cross wind and took us to the River bike path. That mile took 8:12 and I had delusions of picking it up some more.
BUT: we faced a stiff headwind at that point (which explains why the upgrade didn’t hurt as much as expected) and I noticed a guy up ahead of me; he is a couple of years older than I am and whipped me soundly at this spring’s marathon. He was wearing a bright orange shirt so I made it my goal to “get him”.
And eventually, with about 1200 meters to go, I did. Then I made it my goal to hold him off; I KNEW that he would fight me to the end. And he did. 🙂
As we got to the straight away I kept hearing footsteps; it was his…and those of a young, short woman coming up behind me. I told myself: “COME ON YOU WORTHLESS %$$##@!!!!!! GET GOING!!!!!! ARE YOU SAVING YOURSELF FOR MARRIAGE???”. So I tried to go as hard as I could without coming up empty short of the finish line.
My last mile was 8:23 so I did slow a bit (wind?) but I kept my place and that was the goal.
I congratulated my opponent and went back on the course to cheer for Debbie, Jennifer and Herb; I was slightly bummed that Jen had wrapped her jacket around her waist…. 😉
Then I walked the 2 miles home, going past the Medical school and up the hill; it was a good cool down.
I noticed something curious. There were 84 males who finished the race; 9 of those 50 years old and up finished in the top half (42); 10 of the 50 and up crowd finished in the second half. The top places were 8, 10, 24, 33, 34, 36, 39, 40, 41. So being over 50 diminished one’s chances of being first, it didn’t really diminish one’s chances of being in the upper half of the males. (9 in the first half of all males, 10 in the second half).
Now looking at the 103 females who finish: only 3 women 50 and up finished in the top 52; 9 finished in the second half of the women. The top places: 15, 40, 50, 53.
I don’t know exactly what this means, but the conclusion (based on this one small race) is that being older hurts women more than it hurts men. BUT it could be that more men of my generation started earlier (races in the early 1980’s used to me mostly men; my first marathon (December 1980) saw 2000 male finishers and just over 200 women finishers!) so it could be that today’s 50 year old (and older) woman started sports later in life than the typical 50 year old man.
I don’t know; it is interesting to think about.
5K (or close)
Workout notes: full weight workout (McKenzie, planks, rotator cuff, hip hikes, Achilles, abs (3 sets of 10 of sit back, crunch, twist, vertical crunch).
Plank notes: on the side plank, I was able to keep my upper leg in the air longer; my goal is to do this for the full 30 seconds.
pull ups: 5 sets of 10
bench: 10 x 135, 9 x 170 (a recent improvement)
incline: 2 sets of 10 x 140
military: dumbbell, seated, supported: 3 sets of 12 x 50
rows: 3 sets of 10 x 65 (each arm)
curls: 2 sets of 10 x 30 dumbbell, 10 x 70 machine
pull down: 3 sets of 10 x 160 (shoulder friendly grip).
“Mr. Fitness”: I was discussing my wife’s struggles with mobility while she recovers from a broken foot; she is not allowed to put any weight on the afflicted foot.
A mutual friend remarked that I was “Mr. Fitness” when, in fact, I am not. My workouts, for me, are part of the ongoing fantasy that I am an athlete. My workouts are to get me ready for “competition; GAME DAY. Physical fitness is a mere byproduct and not the intended goal; hence things like “exercise classes” have no appeal for me, unless it is to address a specific sports injury (e. g. yoga for the back or for the hamstrings).
Back to Barbara: here she is at the Jones Dome for the Rams vs. Bears game. You can see her cast.
Mobility has been an issue for her; going up and down even a few stairs (like those leading into our house) is a struggle for her; techniques such as this one are out of the question for her:
She doesn’t have the upper body strength nor the necessary balance.
Sure, her age IS a part of it; younger people have more inherent strength and endurance.
But for older people, working at physical fitness CAN yield big dividends, especially when things go wrong.
So, with that in mind, I’ll add some “fitness stuff” to my workout (e. g. use my wobble board after runs); that can’t hurt my trail running.
I decided to drive to the Rock Island trail to do my miles today; I wanted a flat surface and some soft surface.
I jogged out past the bench on the paved part (47:10 worth in total) and did the 3 mile out and back trail segment in 65:39 (32:28 out, 33:11 back). I was astonished at how slow my last 3 miles was. It wasn’t as if I was dogging it….I wasn’t killing myself but I had made an effort to attempt to increase the effort.
It was gray, slightly breezy and freezing (32 F, 0 C) and there was a tiny, tiny bit of snow dust here and there.
I got passed by a bespandexed MILF and I saw a runner who used to leave me in the dust and his fast walking wife. He is of the age in which people slow down at a more rapid rate.
I have to fight the tendency to go back on the treadmill at the first sign of chilly temperatures, but I am going to have to “run fast” at least once a week.
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